Reps. Gibbons and Carson
March 12, 1997
in this forum:
Is it time for more gun control legislation? How much pressure does the party exert on you? What are the prospects for campaign finance reform? Is Congress trying to be too nice? REP. GIBBONS: How should Congress balance protecting the environment and preserving jobs? REP. CARSON: How did your delayed arrival impact you?
Return to @the Capitol.
Scrutinize the work of several major Congressional committees in online forums with the chairs and ranking members.
Begin an ongoing dialogue with twelve new members of Congress.
Follow the first year in Congress of Freshmen Reps. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Jay Johnson (D-WI)
A question from Karen Brown of Hemet, CA:
I have not been concerned with civility in Congress. If one were to read the debates that occurred on the House and Senate floor from the 18th century, this issue of civility could be put to rest - they were brutal! And, they needed to be.
Free speech has always been the backbone and the strength of this nation. I understand that a Congressperson cannot be held liable for things that are said on the floor of the House and Senate. This is a good thing. I would hate to see our Representatives muzzled.
I am concerned, however, with partisanship. I wonder if the House Democrats and the House Republicans are expected to vote with the party's platform or suffer sanctions of various sorts. When I watch C-Span, I notice that the vote is nearly always split along party line. Can you tell me, either of you, if you are coaxed, pressured or threatened with sanctions if you aren't a team player and don't vote the party line?
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to give you my opinion and ask both of you a question. I appreciate your candidness.
Rep. Julia Carson responds:
There is a little pressure on the Democratic side of the aisle to vote a certain way on key issues, but usually the leadership in my party understands that we are all independent entities. As Members of Congress, our final decision rests with what we interpret will be best for the people of our districts. As a Democrat, I agree with the guiding principles of my party, but I also realize that we will not agree on each issue, and that sometimes common sense and the needs of my district will outweigh partisanship.
Rep. Jim Gibbons responds:
No, absolutely not. The job I have undertaken is to represent to the best of my ability the citizens of the 2nd Congressional District of Nevada. I believe that the positions I have taken thus far in line with the interests of my constituents. Whether or not those positions happen to occasionally fall along the certain philosophical or ideological lines is not the issue. I believe the true purpose of a House Representative is to voice the issues concerns and ideas of the citizens of Nevada, and not those of the Administration or Congressional Leadership. Whether or not I am effective in representing the citizens of the 2nd District of Nevada will certainly be the test I am held to by my constituents when I return home.